If there’s a theme to OnePlus in 2019, it’s giving you more for more. The company’s new Bullets Wireless 2 earphones, launching today alongside the OnePlus 7 Pro flagship phone, raise the price while improving the comfort of the original Bullets Wireless from a year ago.
Going from $69 to $99, the Bullets Wireless 2 offer a much rounder shape to the earbuds, which is more comfortable to wear and looks more discreet. I’ve had a pair of these for a few days, and everything positive I’ve said about the first wireless Bullets remains true. The sound is punchy and engaging, the fit is stable without being fatiguing, and the weight distribution with the battery modules resting on the wearer’s shoulders is pretty great.
On the inside of each earbud, there are two Knowles balanced armature drivers for mids and highs, together with one dynamic driver to cover the lower frequencies. OnePlus is including support for its Warp Charge fast-charging standard, which will get 10 hours of music playback into the Bullets Wireless 2 with 10 minutes of charging. On a full battery, the company promises 14 hours of total playing time.
Bluetooth 5 and AptX HD are both supported by these new Bullets, ensuring a high-quality wireless connection with compatible devices. There’s also a quick-pairing function between these buds and OnePlus phones, eliminating the chronic pain point of pairing and syncing that plagues Bluetooth headphones outside the Apple ecosystem.
Despite the numerous laudable upgrades, I struggle to be as enthusiastic about the Bullets Wireless 2 as I was about the first generation. One part of this is the substantial increase in price: $99 (or €99 in Europe) is still a reasonable price for what you get, but it’s not the same bargain that the Bullets Wireless were. Additionally, in the intervening year, Huawei has launched its €99 FreeLace, and those are now my favorite neckbuds. The FreeLace have a better sound, with beefier bass and more precise treble, and their built-in music controls are just much nicer and more intuitive than those that OnePlus provides.
If you’re buying the OnePlus 7 Pro and want to accessorize it with a good pair of matching wireless earbuds, the Bullets Wireless 2 are certainly a good candidate. But for people outside the budding OnePlus ecosystem, I’d recommend the Huawei FreeLace first.